Budoár Staré Dámy

Na Hraní

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An old lady drinking tea in the boudoir is not the image that crosses your mind when listening to Budoár Staré Dámy, even though its name means just that. This Czech group plays alternative punk rock. They are loud, a bit crude, but slightly more mannered and subtle than what you could expect -- beyond radio-friendly consciousness. Na Hraní is very well-produced and displays unusual care for arrangements in this genre. Females outnumber males three to two and take most of the lead and backing vocal duties, which gives the group something of a riot grrrl attitude. Singer Marta Fúú Svobodová uses a mix of anger and seduction to get her sharp-edged messages across. The music features good driving beats, crunching guitars (two of them), angular melodies, and the odd saxophone or clarinet line. If "V Sobotu i v Nedeli" delivers an opening punch, things settle down a bit afterwards. "Usnul Dub Nad Stádem Hub" even gets close to a ballad, while "Pruchod Nemesidy" gets into something very different, opening with a barbershop quartet of sorts, switching to a punkish Merseybeat, and then alternating sections in a deconstructed punk à la Uz Jsme Doma. Here Svobodová sounds less fierce and more comfortable with her singing, turning the piece into an unexpected highlight. An enhanced portion of the CD includes videos for "Rozhovor 9.5.1945" and "Usnul Dub Nad Stádem Hub."

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